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Scrappin’ Green… by “Repurposing”

By Ali MacDonald

Occasionally, items in your home may be discarded after just one use, but have you ever looked at the possibilities they may hold for your scrappin’ hobby or scrappin’ area?

The following list of items and possible uses may start you thinking in a whole new direction.

Have fun Recycling, Reducing, Reusing, AND: Repurposing!!

Old door: Repurpose into a scrappy table~ some sanding and a few coats of paint can make it VERY appealing!

Wire baskets from the “deep-freeze”: When your old freezer bites the dust (hopefully after many years of good service,) SAVE those coated-wire baskets! They make great bins for storing large zippy bags of chipboard, semi-completed projects and the like.

Spice jars: Repurpose for embellie storage. I use mine for holding bling, brads and my white buttons!

Wine corks: Dry these and repurpose into stoppers for “topless” spice jars purchased from yard sales (LOL). Corks are fun to stamp with, too!

Plastic see-thru grid from the front of a paper potato bag: Save and use with paint or ink for interesting textural effects. Ditto for mesh onion bags!

Wooden tangerine boxes: Perfect size to repurpose for organization of seldom used items… but watch out for splinters. (You may wish to first line these boxes with inexpensive fabric from your stash.)

The inside layer of packing cardboard, like the one shown below, makes interesting patterns when used with ink or paint on a card or layout, as you can see.


(This LO was created with the March 2008 SBCH Kit.)

Old padded footstool: Re-cover the padding with some sturdy twill or denim from the remnant bin. Secure with upholstery tacks, and you’ve created a spot for a little friend to talk to Mommy or Auntie while she scraps! Bonus: a stool fits under your scrappy table when not in use, and can also be used elsewhere in the home as extra seating in a pinch!!

Ice cube trays: Use for small items such as tiny buttons, brads, or charms. Often, these can be stacked: HANDY!

Left-over “ends” of ribbon: Use the “longer” pieces as embellies stapled to a LO. Even the smallest piece can be recycled! Snip it into colourful mini-pieces and use inside a shaker box or window!

Samples from wholesale notions catalogues: My Mom-in-law gave me many sheets of these. I removed the 2” braid and trim samples & have used them to make embellies for many LOs! Here’s one. See the orange braid?


Little jars: Those that come with fancy mustards or jellies inside are fun repurposed for holding flowers, beads, paperclips or other small scrappy office supplies or embellies.

Caps of various sizes from medication bottles, tubs of cream cheese, lids from canning jars, empty ribbon spools, the cardboard under frozen pizzas: These ALL make awesome circle templates. [Be sure to double check that they’re clean and dry before use.]

Do you have a bunch of “old” file folders ready to discard? Flip them the other way and reuse for filing categories such as “sketches,” “page calls” or “inspiration!” You could also apply a new label over the old file name and go from there. No labels on hand? Use light coloured paper and glue stick
to customize your own!

Old nail polish: Apply a small dab to one handle of your GOOD scissors- and store them points down in your tool caddy. Never grab the “wrong pair” again! (ie: I have 2 identical pairs of scissors and one is newer/better. This nail polish tip really worked for me!) My friend Sherry also uses nail polish to change the colour of brads!

Tiered spice shelves: Use these plastic stepped-style organizers to display MANY of your wood mounted stamps in a much smaller area.

“Microwaveable meal” trays and sectioned “Lunchables” trays: ideal for paint mixing! Can be reused several times.

Empty acrylic paint bottles: Wash out if desired. Add colours and make a new shade for your paint collection!

Baby wipes bins: Use without covers for storing items such as glue sticks, small bottles of acrylic paint, inexpensive foam stamps, ink pads, skeins of yarn, CDs of scrappin’ music, or your sandpaper.

Old recipe box: Use as a journaling organizer (see previous article in Tips and Techniques here on the SBCH Blog to learn how to do this!)

The stand-up flatware drainer caddy with handle from your old dish-drainer set: Don’t discard! These are very sturdy. Use as a handy scrappy-tool/scissor/ruler/utensil caddy.

The thick fabric pad off the old high-chair or the old cover of the mega-sized ironing board: Keep enough to cover a 12” x 8” x 2″ [approx] block of wood. Staple fabric in place on bottom. Cover staples with felt to prevent any scratching. Turn over, and Presto! You now have a perfect mini ironing board for pressing ribbon or small pieces of fabric for use on your LOs. I keep my “mini” handy in a drawer of my rolling cart, and never have to leave my scrap area to drag out a huge ironing board (ugh!) to press a bit of ribbon!


“Store-bought icing” tubs: These tubs are easy to find as they are used for packaging both name brand and No-Name icing! They are the perfect size for altering and make GREAT pen, pencil and marker caddies. Why not alter one to make a caddy that matches your scrap area? What a great way to use up patterned paper scraps! (This is also a fun project for kids.)

3 ½” floppy disc storage container: Perfect for storage of Sizzlet dies!

Inside “inserts” from cookie boxes and bags: once carefully washed, these make great little caddies for small ‘metals,’ costume jewelery you wish to repurpose, etc…


Broken summer necklaces/bracelets: these often have a quantity of circular, flat beads made of compressed shell in beautiful colours. These make excellent shaker box additions, pretty dots for letter “i” or “j”, or used as embellies to accent elements of your patterned paper, etc…

“Duotangs” that the kids bring home in June at the end of the school year: If still in good shape, repurpose to store articles you have saved from magazines, e-books you’ve purchased, or e-courses you have taken related to your scrapping. Re-label the duotangs and store in your scrappy library.

Paint chips of colours from rooms that have long-ago been repainted: Trim and use as a strip (either vertically or horizontally) on a LO for an interesting accent.

The sectioned veggie & dip containers that some of the large grocery chains sell in the fresh foods dept make great caddies for buttons, bling, beads, flowers and other small/medium sized embellies. I store different categories of buttons in mine:


Napkin holder that is too narrow for the needs of your family? Repurpose by using as a unique stand for a mini album or two!

[Largest mini album shown was made with the December 2007 SBCH Kit]

An old cork trivet can be repurposed into a mini bulletin board. I made a round trivet into a jungle picture that is now on my son’s bedroom wall!


Before discarding a stained or ripped garment, check it over for interesting appliqués…etc. Use the fabric itself as an embellie for a LO or altered item. Cut carefully, adhere appliqué with MM ribbon glue and presto- a lovely effect!


Altered Notebook
(This altered notebook was made with CS, PP and lettering from the January 2008 SBCH Kit.)

Empty thread spools: use to wrap lengths of loose ribbon on, and secure with a straight pin. Another use: stamp some interesting shapes on your paper by dipping empty thread spools in paint or ink!

A few ideas for the closet storage… first a photo and then the details…


Pizza boxes from your fave kit club or online store: Label and stack for use as storage of high school, university, wedding or baby mementos and “LO’s to file.”

Boxes from 12×12” page protectors: Stack & label these for storage of large photos, sheets of chipboard, cards you wish to keep for scrappy inspiration, etc…

Containers from Swiffer-type cloths: save, wash out, dry well, label, use to store pix that need sorting (on a short-term basis). I like them because they’re lightweight & stack well!

Go have a look around… what can YOU find to repurpose? Be sure to share any good repurposing tips with us here at SBCH in the comments section below.

We’d really like to hear from you!


Comments on: "Scrappin’ Green~ Tips for Eco-Friendly Memory Keeping: 18th Edition" (3)

  1. Awesome article Ali!

  2. Wow–you waste nothing! Wtg! I can’t believe how many items you talked about here!! :0)

  3. Amazing article. There are so many ideas here! I like the idea of repurposing the lunchables containers and the tiered spice rack for stamps. Now I just need to find a tiered spice rack! 🙂 Thanks for the ideas!

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